Neurosurgery Blog


Daily bibliographic review of the Neurosurgery Department. La Fe University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

Cystic Vestibular Schwannomas Respond Best to Radiosurgery

Neurosurgery 81:490–497, 2017

Vestibular schwannomas (VS) have a well-documented response to Gamma Knife R  (Elekta AB, Stockholm, Sweden) Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). However, there are limited data available regarding the volumetric response of cystic tumors.

OBJECTIVE: This report correlates the radiographic appearance of VS before radiosurgery with the delayed volumetric response.

METHODS: This study reviewed our SRS experience with 219 VS patients between 2003 and 2013. Patients were treatment naïve and had a significant extracanalicular tumor volume. Magnetic resonance imaging at the time of SRS identified 42 contrast-enhancing macrocystic tumors, 45 contrast-enhancing microcystic tumors, and 132 homogeneously enhancing tumors with no intratumoral cyst formation. The median follow-up was 49.1 months. The median tumor volume was 2.6 cm3 (0.70-16.1 cm3) and the median dose was 12.5 Gy (11-13 Gy).

RESULTS: The actuarial tumor control rate was 99.4% at 2 years and 96.4% at 5 years. A volumetric reduction of >20% occurred in 85.4% of macrocystic tumors, 76.1% of microcystic tumors, and 62.8% of homogeneously enhancing VS. The median volume decrease per year for macrocystic, microcystic, and homogenous tumors was 17.2%, 7.5%, and 7.9% per year respectively (P < .001). A 2:1 blinded volumetric case match showed a significant size reduction in macrocystic tumors compared to noncystic tumors (P = .007). Serviceable hearing was maintained in 61.5% of patients that had Gardner-Robertson grade I-II hearing before treatment. Surgical resection or repeat radiosurgery was performed in 8 patients (3.6%) who had sustained tumor progression.

CONCLUSION: SRS provided VS tumor control in >95% of patients, regardless of radiographic characteristics. Tumor volume regression was most evident in patients with cystic tumors.

Delayed Facial Palsy After Vestibular Schwannoma Resection


Neurosurgery 78:251–255, 2016

Preservation of facial nerve function following vestibular schwannoma surgery is a high priority. Even those patients with normal to near-normal function in the early postoperative period remain at risk for delayed facial palsy (DFP).

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the incidence and prognosis of DFP and to identify risk factors for its occurrence.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study of 489 patients who underwent vestibular schwannoma resection at our institution between 2000 and 2014. Delayed facial palsy was defined as deterioration in facial function of at least 2 House-Brackmann (HB) grades between postoperative days 5 to 30. Only patients with a HB grade of I to III by postoperative day 5 were eligible for study inclusion.

RESULTS: One hundred twenty-one patients with HB grade IV to VI facial weakness at postoperative day 5 were excluded from analysis. Of the remaining 368, 60 (16%) patients developed DFP (mean 12 days postoperatively, range: 5-25 days). All patients recovered function to HB grade I to II by a mean of 33 days (range: 7-86 days). Patients that developed DFP had higher rates of gross total resections (83% vs 71%, P = .05) and retrosigmoid approaches (72% vs 52%, P, .01). There was no difference in recovery time between patients who received treatment with steroids, steroids with antivirals, or no treatment at all (P = .530).

CONCLUSION: Patients with a gross total tumor resection or undergoing a retrosigmoid approach may be at higher risk of DFP. The prognosis is favorable, with patients likely recovering to normal or near-normal facial function within 1 month of onset.

Retrosigmoid removal of small acoustic neuroma: curative tumor removal with preservation of function

Retrosigmoid removal of small acoustic neuroma

J Neurosurg 121:554–563, 2014

Management of small acoustic neuromas (ANs) consists of 3 options: observation with imaging followup, radiosurgery, and/or tumor removal. The authors report the long-term outcomes and preservation of function after retrosigmoid tumor removal in 44 patients and clarify the management paradigm for small ANs.

Methods. A total of 44 consecutively enrolled patients with small ANs and preserved hearing underwent retrosigmoid tumor removal in an attempt to preserve hearing and facial function by use of intraoperative auditory monitoring of auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) and cochlear nerve compound action potentials (CNAPs). All patients were younger than 70 years of age, had a small AN (purely intracanalicular/cerebellopontine angle tumor ≤ 15 mm), and had serviceable hearing preoperatively. According to the guidelines of the Committee on Hearing and Equilibrium of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, preoperative hearing levels of the 44 patients were as follows: Class A, 19 patients; Class B, 17; and Class C, 8. The surgical technique for curative tumor removal with preservation of hearing and facial function included sharp dissection and debulking of the tumor, reconstruction of the internal auditory canal, and wide removal of internal auditory canal dura.

Results. For all patients, tumors were totally removed without incidence of facial palsy, death, or other complications. Total tumor removal was confirmed by the first postoperative Gd-enhanced MRI performed 12 months after surgery. Postoperative hearing levels were Class A, 5 patients; Class B, 21; Class C, 11; and Class D, 7. Postoperatively, serviceable (Class A, B, or C) and useful (Class A or B) levels of hearing were preserved for 84% and 72% of patients, respectively. Better preoperative hearing resulted in higher rates of postoperative hearing preservation (p = 0.01); preservation rates were 95% among patients with preoperative Class A hearing, 88% among Class B, and 50% among Class C. Reliable monitoring was more frequently provided by CNAPs than by ABRs (66% vs 32%, p < 0.01), and consistently reliable auditory monitoring was significantly associated with better rates of preservation of useful hearing. Long-term follow-up by MRI with Gd administration (81 ± 43 months [range 5–181 months]; median 7 years) showed no tumor recurrence, and although the preserved hearing declined minimally over the long-term postoperative follow-up period (from 39 ± 15 dB to 45 ± 11 dB in 5.1 ± 3.1 years), 80% of useful hearing and 100% of serviceable hearing remained at the same level.

Conclusions. As a result of a surgical technique that involved sharp dissection and internal auditory canal reconstruction with intraoperative auditory monitoring, retrosigmoid removal of small ANs can lead to successful curative tumor removal without long-term recurrence and with excellent functional outcome. Thus, the authors suggest that tumor removal should be the first-line management strategy for younger patients with small ANs and preserved hearing.

Hearing preservation surgery for vestibular schwannomas via the retrosigmoid transmeatal approach

Hearing preservation surgery in VS-1

Neurosurg Rev (2014) 37:431–444

Maximum tumor extirpation with preservation of the facial and cochlear nerve function is the goal of surgery for vestibular schwannoma. To preserve cochlear nerve function, the surgeon must employ a detailed knowledge of microanatomy, precise microsurgical techniques, and persistence. This paper describes the “pearls” of surgical techniques based on the anatomical study inside the mastoid from the view of the retrosigmoid transmeatal approach.

A total of 592 consecutive patients underwent surgical removal of unilateral vestibular schwannoma (VS) between January 1994 and December 2009. The hearing preservation rate was 53.7 % for large vestibular schwannomas (>20 mm in diameter) and 74.1 % for tumors of all sizes.

The key procedures for hearing preservation surgery are as follows: bloodless microdissection, sufficient coring-debulking, capsular elevation to locate the facial and cochlear nerves both electrophysiologically and by visual observation, sharp dissection of the facial and cochlear nerves, and avoidance of heat and mechanical injury to the nerves, the internal auditory artery, and the brain stem. Besides these techniques, appropriate instruments are essential to preserve hearing.

The function of the facial and cochlear nerves should be the foremost concern. Meticulous techniques and the knowledge of microsurgical anatomy lead to hearing preservation with maximum tumor removal.


Contemporary Surgical Management of Vestibular Schwannomas


Neurosurgery 72[ONS Suppl 2]:ons103–ons115, 2013 

Despite advanced microsurgical techniques, more refined instrumentation, and expert team management, there is still a significant incidence of complications in vestibular schwannoma surgery.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze complications from the microsurgical treatment of vestibular schwannoma by an expert surgical team and to propose strategies for minimizing such complications.

METHODS: Surgical outcomes and complications were evaluated in a consecutive series of 410 unilateral vestibular schwannomas treated from 2000 to 2009. Clinical status and complications were assessed postoperatively (within 7 days) and at the time of follow-up (range, 1-116 months; mean, 32.7 months).

RESULTS: Follow-up data were available for 357 of the 410 patients (87.1%). Microsurgical tumor resection was performed through a retrosigmoid approach in 70.7% of cases. Thirty-three patients (8%) had intrameatal tumors and 204 (49.8%) had tumors that were ,20 mm. Gross total resection was performed in 306 patients (74.6%). Hearing preservation surgery was attempted in 170 patients with tumors ,20 mm, and good hearing was preserved in 74.1%. The main neurological complication was facial palsy (House-Brackmann grade III-VI), observed in 14% of patients (56 cases) postoperatively; however, 59% of them improved during the follow-up period. Other neurological complications were disequilibrium in 6.3%, facial numbness in 2.2%, and lower cranial nerve deficit in 0.5%. Nonneurological complications included cerebrospinal fluid leaks in 7.6%, wound infection in 2.2%, and meningitis in 1.7%.

CONCLUSION: Many of these complications are avoidable through further refinement of operative technique, and strategies for avoiding complications are proposed.

Technical nuances of resection of giant (> 5 cm) vestibular schwannomas: pearls for success

Neurosurg Focus 33 (3):E15, 2012

Removal of vestibular schwannomas (VSs, or acoustic neuromas) remains one of the most challenging operations in neurosurgery. Giant or huge tumors (> 5 cm) heighten these challenges, and technical nuances play a special role in maximizing tumor resection while minimizing complications.

In this article, the senior author describes his technical experience with microsurgical excision of giant VSs. The accompanying video further illustrates these details.


The Middle Fossa Approach and Extended Middle Fossa Approach: Technique and Operative Nuances

Neurosurgery 70[ONS Suppl 2]:ons192–ons201, 2012 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31823583a1

The middle fossa approach and extended middle fossa approach, also known as the anterior transpetrosal approach, are cranial base techniques for addressing small vestibular schwannomas, medial temporal bone lesions, midbasilar trunk aneurysms, and selected petroclival lesions.

OBJECTIVE: To provide an outline of a number of technical nuances that are important to correct application of these approaches, maximizing exposure, and limiting potential morbidity.

METHODS: Via a temporal craniotomy, the petrous apex is removed in variable degrees, depending on the exposure requirements of the lesion. The technique is described in detail with appropriate nuances of the technique provided.

RESULTS: The described nuances of technique in the performance of the approaches have resulted in successful application of these techniques in a significant number of cases.

CONCLUSION: Significant familiarity and practice with these surgical approach techniques are critical to applying them safely to clinical problems. A number of technical details can assist the surgeon in achieving optimal exposure and limited morbidity.


Staged resection of large vestibular schwannomas

J Neurosurg 116:1126–1133, 2012.(

Staged resection of large vestibular schwannomas (VSs) has been proposed as a strategy to improve facial nerve outcomes and morbidity. The authors report their experience with 2-stage resections of large VSs and analyze the indications, facial nerve outcomes, surgical results, and complications. The authors compare these results with those of a similar cohort of patients who underwent a single-stage resection.

Methods. A retrospective review of all patients (age > 18 years) who underwent surgery from 2002 to 2010 for large (≥ 3 cm) VSs at the authors’ institution with a minimum of 6 months follow-up was undertaken. A first-stage retrosigmoid approach (without meatal drilling) was performed to remove the cerebellopontine angle portion of the tumor and to decompress the brainstem. A decision to stage the operation was made intraoperatively if there was cerebellar or brainstem edema, excessive tumor adherence to the facial nerve or brainstem, a poorly stimulating facial nerve, or a thinned or splayed facial nerve. A second-stage translabyrinthine approach was performed at a later date to remove the remaining tumor. The single-stage resection consisted of a retrosigmoid approach with meatal drilling. Patient charts were evaluated for tumor size, extent of resection, tumor recurrence, House-Brackmann facial nerve function grade, and complications.

Results. Twenty-eight and 19 patients underwent 2- or single-stage resection of a large VS, respectively. The average tumor size was 3.9 cm (range 3.2–7 cm) in the 2-stage group and 3.9 cm (range 3.1–5 cm) in the single-stage group. The mean follow-up was 36 ± 19 months in the 2-stage group versus 24 ± 14 months in the single-stage group. Gross-total or near-total resection was achieved in 27 (96.4%) of 28 patients in the 2-stage group and 15 (79%) of 19 patients in the single-stage group (p < 0.01). Anatomical facial nerve preservation was achieved in all but 1 patient (94.7%), and there were no recurrences on follow-up imaging in the 2-stage group. Good facial nerve functional outcome (House-Brackmann Grades I and II) at last follow-up was achieved in 23 (82%) of 28 patients in the 2-stage group and 10 (53%) of 19 patients in the single-stage group (p < 0.01). Cerebrospinal fluid leak–related complications (intracranial hypotension, blood patch, and lumboperitoneal shunt for pseudomeningocele) were more common in the 2-stage group. There were no postoperative strokes, hemorrhages, or deaths in either group.

Conclusions. The authors’ results suggest that staged resection of large VSs may potentially achieve better facial nerve outcomes. There does not appear to be added neurological morbidity with staged resections

The molecular biology and novel treatments of vestibular schwannomas

J Neurosurg 115:906–914, 2011. DOI: 10.3171/2011.6.JNS11131

Vestibular schwannomas are histopathologically benign tumors arising from the Schwann cell sheath surrounding the vestibular branch of cranial nerve VIII and are related to the NF2 gene and its product merlin.

Merlin acts as a tumor suppressor and as a mediator of contact inhibition. Thus, deficiencies in both NF2 genes lead to vestibular schwannoma development.

Recently, there have been major advances in our knowledge of the molecular biology of vestibular schwannomas as well as the development of novel therapies for its treatment.

In this article the authors comprehensively review the recent advances in the molecular biology and characterization of vestibular schwannomas as well as the development of modern treatments for vestibular schwannoma. For instance, merlin is involved with a number of receptors including the CD44 receptor, EGFR, and signaling pathways, such as the Ras/raf pathway and the canonical Wnt pathway. Recently, merlin was also shown to interact in the nucleus with E3 ubiquitin ligase CRL4DCAF1.

A greater understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind vestibular schwannoma tumorigenesis has begun to yield novel therapies. Some authors have shown that Avastin induces regression of progressive schwannomas by over 40% and improves hearing. An inhibitor of VEGF synthesis, PTC299, is currently in Phase II trials as a potential agent to treat vestibular schwannoma.

Furthermore, in vitro studies have shown that trastuzumab (an ERBB2 inhibitor) reduces vestibular schwannoma cell proliferation.

With further research it may be possible to significantly reduce morbidity and mortality rates by decreasing tumor burden, tumor volume, hearing loss, and cranial nerve deficits seen in vestibular schwannomas.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery for larger-volume vestibular schwannomas

J Neurosurg 114:801–807, 2011.DOI: 10.3171/2010.8.JNS10674

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is an important management option for patients with small- and medium- sized vestibular schwannomas. To assess the potential role of SRS in larger tumors, the authors reviewed their recent experience.

Methods. Between 1994 and 2008, 65 patients with vestibular schwannomas between 3 and 4 cm in one extracanalicular maximum diameter (median tumor volume 9 ml) underwent Gamma Knife surgery. Seventeen patients (26%) had previously undergone resection.

Results. The median follow-up duration was 36 months (range 1–146 months). At the first planned imaging follow-up at 6 months, 5 tumors (8%) were slightly expanded, 53 (82%) were stable in size, and 7 (11%) were smaller. Two patients (3%) underwent resection within 6 months due to progressive symptoms. Two years later, with 63 tumors overall after the 2 post-SRS resections, 16 tumors (25%) had a volume reduction of more than 50%, 22 (35%) tumors had a volume reduction of 10–50%, 18 (29%) were stable in volume (volume change < 10%), and 7 (11%) had larger volumes (5 of the 7 patients underwent resection and 1 of the 7 underwent repeat SRS). Eighteen (82%) of 22 patients with serviceable hearing before SRS still had serviceable hearing after SRS more than 2 years later. Three patients (5%) developed symptomatic hydrocephalus and underwent placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. In 4 patients (6%) trigeminal sensory dysfunction developed, and in 1 patient (2%) mild facial weakness (House-Brackmann Grade II) developed after SRS. In univariate analysis, patients who had a previous resection (p = 0.010), those with a tumor volume exceeding 10 ml (p = 0.05), and those with Koos Grade 4 tumors (p = 0.02) had less likelihood of tumor control after SRS.

Conclusions. Although microsurgical resection remains the primary management choice in patients with low comorbidities, most vestibular schwannomas with a maximum diameter less than 4 cm and without significant mass effect can be managed satisfactorily with Gamma Knife radiosurgery.

Decision analysis of treatment options for vestibular schwannoma

J Neurosurg 114:400–413, 2011. (DOI: 10.3171/2010.3.JNS091802)

Widespread use of MR imaging has contributed to the more frequent diagnosis of vestibular schwannomas (VSs). These tumors represent 10% of primary adult intracranial neoplasms, and if they are symptomatic, they usually present with hearing loss and tinnitus. Currently, there are 3 treatment options for quality of life (QOL): wait and scan, microsurgery, and radiosurgery. In this paper, the authors’ purpose is to determine which treatment modality yields the highest QOL at 5- and 10-year follow-up, considering the likelihood of recurrence and various complications.

Methods. The MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane online databases were searched for English-language articles published between 1990 and June 2008, containing key words relating to VS. Data were pooled to calculate the prevalence of treatment complications, tumor recurrence, and QOL with various complications. For parameters in which incidence varied with time of follow-up, the authors used meta-regression to determine the mean prevalence rates at a specified length of follow-up. A decision-analytical model was constructed to compare 5- and 10-year outcomes for a patient with a unilateral tumor and partially intact hearing. The 3 treatment options, wait and scan, microsurgery, and radiosurgery, were compared.

Results. After screening more than 2500 abstracts, the authors ultimately included 113 articles in this analysis. Recurrence, complication rates, and onset of complication varied with the treatment chosen. The relative QOL at the 5-year follow-up was 0.898 of normal for wait and scan, 0.953 for microsurgery, and 0.97 for radiosurgery. These differences are significant (p < 0.0052). Data were too scarce at the 10-year follow-up to calculate significant differences between the microsurgery and radiosurgery strategies.

Conclusions. At 5 years, patients treated with radiosurgery have an overall better QOL than those treated with either microsurgery or those investigated further with serial imaging. The authors found that the complications associated with wait-and-scan and microsurgery treatment strategies negatively impacted patient lives more than the complications from radiosurgery. One limitation of this study is that the 10-year follow-up data were too limited to analyze, and more studies are needed to determine if the authors’ results are still consistent at 10 years.

A Critical Evaluation of Vestibular Schwannoma Surgery for Patients Younger Than 40 Years of Age

Neurosurgery 67:1646–1654, 2010 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e3181f8d3d3

There are few published prospective data sets specifically focusing on patients younger than 40 years old undergoing microsurgery for vestibular schwannoma.

OBJECTIVE: We describe functional outcomes and long-term tumor control after surgery in patients younger than 40 years old enrolled in a prospectively collected database over a 25-year period.

METHODS: We selected all vestibular schwannoma patients from a prospectively collected database who were younger than 40 years old at the time of surgical resection for a vestibular schwannoma. Rates of tumor control and hearing preservation were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier analysis, and risk factors for facial nerve palsy, hearing loss, and trigeminal neuropathy were analyzed using multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS: A total of 204 patients younger than 40 years of age met our inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis. Our data indicate that surgical resection leads to durable long-term freedom from tumor recurrence or progression in 89% of young patients at 15 years of follow-up. Consistent with other published series, hearing was preserved in 68% of patients with smaller tumors (,3 cm). Facial nerve function was preserved in 76% of patients with smaller tumors and 52% of patients with larger tumors (P , .001). On multivariate logistic regression, tumor size was a significant predictor of hearing loss, whereas gross total resection was nearly a significant predictor of hearing loss controlling for other variables (P = .06).

CONCLUSION: We present the largest prospectively studied cohort of young patients undergoing microsurgical resection of vestibular schwannoma. These data suggest that surgical resection provides excellent long-term tumor control in these patients

Functional outcome after complete surgical removal of giant vestibular schwannomas

J Neurosurg 112:860–867, 2010. (DOI: 10.3171/2009.7.JNS0989)
The authors evaluated the outcome of radical surgery in a consecutive series of patients with giant vestibular schwannomas (VSs).
Methods. Fifty patients with VSs > 4.0 cm in maximal extrameatal diameter were included in this retrospective study (Group A). The group was compared with a matched group of 167 patients with VSs < 3.9 cm (Group B). In all cases the retrosigmoid approach was used. Outcome measures included completeness of tumor removal, facial nerve function, hearing, and the surgery-related complication rate.
Results. The mean tumor size in Group A was 4.4 cm and that in Group B was 2.3 cm. Total removal was achieved in all Group A patients and in 97.6% of Group B patients. The anatomical integrity of the facial nerve was preserved in 92% in Group A and in 98.8% in Group B. At last follow-up 75% of the patients with giant VSs had excellent or good facial nerve function, 19% had fair function, and 6% had poor function. In 33% of patients (3 cases) with good preoperative hearing level, it was preserved. Newly developed lower cranial nerve dysfunction occurred in 3 patients but proved to be temporary in 2 of them. A CSF leak developed in 6% of those who not previously undergone surgery. Compared with Group B, a significant difference was found only in the rates of the following parameters: excellent facial nerve function, useful and good hearing, lower cranial nerve dysfunction, and blood collection (p < 0.05). The perioperative mortality rate in both groups was 0%.
Conclusions. In patients with a giant VS, total tumor removal can be achieved via the retrosigmoid approach with a 0% mortality rate and low morbidity rate, especially with regards to facial nerve function. In selected cases even hearing preservation is possible. Tumor size significantly correlates with postoperative outcome.

Non-audiofacial morbidity after Gamma Knife surgery for vestibular schwannoma

Neurosurg Focus 27 (6):E4, 2009. (DOI: 10.3171/2009.9.FOCUS09198)

Object. While many studies have been published outlining morbidity following radiosurgical treatment of ves- tibular schwannomas, significant interpractitioner and institutional variability still exists. For this reason, the authors conducted a systematic review of the literature for non-audiofacial-related morbidity after the treatment of vestibular schwannoma with radiosurgery.

Methods. The authors performed a comprehensive search of the English-language literature to identify studies that published outcome data of patients undergoing radiosurgery treatment for vestibular schwannomas. In total, 254 articles were found that described more than 50,000 patients and were analyzed for satisfying the authors’ inclusion criteria. Patients from these studies were then separated into 2 cohorts based on the marginal dose of radiation: ≤ 13 Gy and > 13 Gy. All tumors included in this study were < 25 mm in their largest diameter.

Results. A total of 63 articles met the criteria of the established search protocol, which combined for a total of 5631 patients. Patients receiving > 13 Gy were significantly more likely to develop trigeminal nerve neuropathy than those receiving < 13 Gy (p < 0.001). While we found no relationship between radiation dose and the rate of developing hydrocephalus (0.6% for both cohorts), patients with hydrocephalus who received doses > 13 Gy appeared to have a higher rate of symptomatic hydrocephalus requiring shunt treatment (96% [> 13 Gy] vs 56% [≤ 13 Gy], p < 0.001). The rates of vertigo or balance disturbance (1.1% [> 13 Gy] vs 1.8% [≤ 13 Gy], p = 0.001) and tinnitus (0.1% [> 13 Gy] vs 0.7% [≤ 13 Gy], p = 0.001) were significantly higher in the lower dose cohort than those in the higher dose cohort.

Conclusions. The results of our review of the literature provide a systematic summary of the published rates of nonaudiofacial morbidity following radiosurgery for vestibular schwannoma.

Cell phones and brain tumors: a review including the long-term epidemiologic data

Vini G. Khurana, PhD, FRACS, Charles Teo, MBBS, FRACS, Michael Kundi, PhD, Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD, Michael Carlberg, MSc.

Surgical Neurology Volume 72, Issue 3, Pages 205-214 (September 2009) doi:10.1016/j.surneu.2009.01.019

The debate regarding the health effects of low-intensity electromagnetic radiation from sources such as power lines, base stations, and cell phones has recently been reignited. In the present review, the authors attempt to address the following question: is there epidemiologic evidence for an association between long-term cell phone usage and the risk of developing a brain tumor? Included with this meta-analysis of the long-term epidemiologic data are a brief overview of cell phone technology and discussion of laboratory data, biological mechanisms, and brain tumor incidence.

In order to be included in the present meta-analysis, studies were required to have met all of the following criteria: (i) publication in a peer-reviewed journal; (ii) inclusion of participants using cell phones for ≥10 years (ie, minimum 10-year “latency”); and (iii) incorporation of a “laterality” analysis of long-term users (ie, analysis of the side of the brain tumor relative to the side of the head preferred for cell phone usage). This is a meta-analysis incorporating all 11 long-term epidemiologic studies in this field.

The results indicate that using a cell phone for ≥10 years approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same (“ipsilateral”) side of the head as that preferred for cell phone use. The data achieve statistical significance for glioma and acoustic neuroma but not for meningioma.


The authors conclude that there is adequate epidemiologic evidence to suggest a link between prolonged cell phone usage and the development of an ipsilateral brain tumor.

Neurosurgery Department. “La Fe” University Hospital. Valencia, Spain


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